Xevious Reviews

  • Sindarin EagleSindarin Eagle58,924
    09 Feb 2011 26 Mar 2011
    11 0 0
    Advance warning: I've adored this game for 25 years, so it's completely impossible for me to write an unbiased review. It was the only arcade game I ever sunk significant quarters into as a kid and the first game I bought for my NES. What this review will instead hopefully give you is an idea of what those of us who love Xevious love in it.

    Xevious is a vertical scrolling shooter. You control a ship that can range over most of the screen and attempt to destroy enemies while progressing through stages. Its unusual twist is that you can both attack air enemies and bomb ground enemies with separate weapons. Air enemies are defeated with typical forward-shooting cannons. Ground enemies are destroyed with air to ground missiles, using a bomb sight that hovers in front of your ship at the point where the missile would hit. The zen of playing Xevious is achieving a balance between defending yourself from air enemies and destroying ground enemies, preferably by firing between ground buildings and destroying multiple ones at once. There are other shooters that have added that sort of dual mode, but I've never seen one that makes it feel as natural and comfortable as Xevious does. (Some lack the bomb sight, for example, which makes attacking ground enemies way too unnecessarily difficult.)

    To set expectations, this is an emulated arcade classic, with essentially no modifications for the Xbox at all. The game looks exactly like it did in the arcade, including being a vertical scroller with the original aspect ratio, which means that on a modern HD screen most of your screen is going to be black while you play this game. Classic Xevious players will want it that way, but an option to rotate the screen horizontally would have been nice for new players to make more use of current screen real estate.

    Thankfully, on the graphical front, Xevious's graphics were exceptionally good at the time and are still surprisingly good. They're eight-bit sprite graphics and look blocky, but the sprite design is exceptional, one of the best ever done. All the enemies and the terrain are clear, crisp, and very easily distinguished from each other. Xevious also features surprisingly interesting landscapes under the levels, including ground markings that I've always found beautiful in their eight-bit way.

    This game is very "pure" for a shooter: there are no powerups, no changes in how the basic game play works, no different challenges. You shoot, bomb, and move on the screen, and that's the game play. The original authors clearly put all their effort into level design and perfecting the basic gameplay rather than adding more tricks. It shows. I find most shooters a boring grind after a while, but even after having not played this game for about 10 years, I immediately recognized and enjoyed the early levels. Enemy variety helps: there are a nice variety of flying enemies, all of which behave in very distinguished ways and require somewhat different tactics (and, as mentioned, all of which are very visually distinct). Unlike some shooters, Xevious doesn't fill the screen with bullets and then "cheat" by giving you shields so that you can just fly through some of them. The bullets are few and relatively slow, but cause instant death, making the game feel a bit more careful and tactical rather than just button-mashing one's way forward while soaking up damage. I always feel like if I'd just anticipated a bit better, I wouldn't have died, which makes the game more addictive.

    The best part of this game for me is the perfect balance that it strikes between reactive play and predictive pattern memorization. The ground enemies are always the same, but the aerial enemies vary from play to play, so after a few plays one is trying to anticipate the upcoming ground enemies to bomb them (including leading the moving tanks and exposing the secret enemies) while dodging and reacting to incoming aerial enemies. Xevious adjusts the aerial difficulty level based on how well you're doing and how many of some of the ground enemies you leave behind, making sure you stay on your toes. This just works for me with a fluidity that most shooters lack.

    As is clear, I adore this basic game, and really want to give it five stars. However, I feel like I have to knock off a star because absolutely nothing was done to the game except add achievements (although the achievements aren't bad, and encourage you to play with the hidden target aspects of the game) and possibly add the ability to restart at your farthest point of advancement (I don't recall that from the NES version, but it's been a while). The graphics, unlike most classics, didn't need all that much help, but some gesture towards a modern system, such as at least a screen rotate option, would be nice.

    But despite that, this is a great game. If you have any love of classic shooters at all, give it a try.
    4.0
  • asedtasedt20,945
    22 Nov 2010
    8 2 0
    What is this?

    It's a Xbox Live Arcade port of the Xevious Arcade. The game was one very early vertically scrolling shoot 'em up, released on the arcade in 1982.

    Gameplay

    So the game is about shouting the enemies and avoiding there bullets like most of the games of this type.

    You can move over the whole screen with you Solvalou fighter. There is air and ground enemies. You can shout anti-aircraft missiles on air targets and guided bombs on ground targets. The bombs has a fixed range from you fighter indicated by a target reticule so you have to place yourself in right position to hit.

    Stages - Quote from Wikipedia

    The game scrolls through 16 areas, looping back to Area 7 after Area 16. The Solvalou continually advances over varying terrain, and the boundaries between areas are marked only by dense forests being overflown. If the player dies, play normally resumes from the start of the area. If the player has completed at least 70% of the area before dying, play will begin at the start of the next area instead. As the Solvalou constantly flies forward, it is possible to advance without killing any enemies.
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xevious

    Hidden objects

    Sol Citadel: The target reticule turns read.
    Special Flag: The target reticule don't turn read.
    Bomb random everywhere! If you don't cheat and check up where they are.

    Enemies

    Enemy air forces
    Talken, Jiara, Zkart, Zoshee, Torroid

    Enemy ground forces
    Barla, Logram, Solbak, Globber, Domogram, Deloda

    Floating fortress (boss)
    Ando Ageanesis (known as Andor Genesisi in the How To Play in game)

    Destroy Solbak to slow down enemy production (known as radar in the How To Play in game)

    Achievements

    This game have hard achievements. Not a easy 200 point game!

    Final words

    As this is one of the first game of this type it greatly influenced the shmup genre. I think it's a great game but when I play it I get tiered of it fast, there is no funny powerups and the music is very bad.

    This is a game only for the shmup fan.

    4/5

    * This ARCADE game is included on the NAMCO MUSEUM VIRTUAL ARCADE disc. If you get the disc you can save money compared to purchase all games separately, but you need to have the disc in the Xbox to play the game.
    4.0